Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro Hybrids Take 1-2 Le Mans Win
Audi achieved perfect race result today at the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race in France, filling the top two places with a stunning Audi R18 e-tron Quattro, and the third place on the podium with the R18 Ultra Diesel.
It was the first time that a hybrid car had won the prestigious race since its inception in 1923. Both Toyota TS030 hybrids didn't finish and neither did the Nissan DeltaWing.
Winning was the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro hybrid of Audi Sport Team Joest which was driven by Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer. Second was the No. 1’s sister car, which was driven by Allan McNish, eight-time-winner Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello. Third was the No. 4 Audi R18 Ultra Diesel, which was driven by Mike Rockenfeller, Oliver Jarvis and Marco Bonanomi.
The R18 Ultra of Marci Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller finished on the final step of the podium while the second R18 Ultra was fifth, behind the No. 12 Lola-Toyota.
Toyota Racing TS030 hybrid huge crash 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours
After the number one car had led for much of the opening half of the race the lead switched several times between the two R18 e-tron Quattro hybrids through the night meaning either car was still in with a chance of claiming the victory.
The team of McNish, Kristensen and Capello had started fourth but were challenging for the lead with the sister e-tron Quattro despite an unscheduled pit-stop in the opening few hours. Once the sun rose after a night of cat-and-mouse both leading cars were involved in minor incidents.
With four hours to go, Capello pitted and switched with McNish who exited the pits and fed back onto the track less than three seconds behind Treluyer in the leading e-tron Quattro. When Treluyer made a scheduled stop McNish took over control of the race with the problems continuing for the number one car as it spun when entering the pit lane.
McNish had targeted his third Le Mans victory this weekend, his first since 2008, but as he looked to build a lead he ended up in the barriers at the Porsche curves with less than three hours remaining.
He fell a lap behind the sister e-tron Quattro and the safety car was required to clear the debris and fix the shunted barrier. Audi's other entry, the R18 Ultra, performed well but was also prone to accidents. While the number four car of Bonanomi, Jarvis and Rockenfeller was largely untroubled in a distant third it was a different story for the sister Ultra.
Despite Audi's dramas they were largely untroubled at the head of the field after their main threat, that of the Toyota Racing TS030 hybrid, lost both of their cars before the halfway stage.
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